Niagara County District Attorney Brian Seaman is alerting Niagara County residents to fraudulent phone calls being made to residents purporting to be a National Grid employee. The supposed National Grid employees tells the resident National Grid is sending a truck out to disconnect their power unless a payment is immediately made to National Grid via Zelle (an online payment service.)
“The call can sound convincing because the scammer provides the victim with fake meter read numbers and the call will appear on your caller ID as a local phone number,” Seaman said. “If you call back the number someone answers the phone pretending to be National Grid.”
Seaman said people can protect themselves by calling National Grid with the customer service phone number listed on their bill and by checking the "meter number" given by the scammer against the number on their bill.
“Most important, reputable businesses, utilities, government offices and so on will never make an unsolicited phone call demanding payment via an online payment service, gift card or cash,” Seaman said. “And while that may sound obvious after the fact, these scammers can be convincing and get residents so concerned that they react out of panic without thinking it through.”
If one has been a victim of this or any other phone scam, Seaman said they should file a report with the Federal Trade Commission at reportfraud.ftc.gov.